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Buy Or Pass By: The Items You Should Always Look For At Estate Sales

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An estate sale is when nearly all of a person's belongings are placed for sale at one time in their home, either due to death of the property owner or someone moving who does not want to take their things with them. Estate sales are similar to auctions or yard sales, and are open to the public. They are typically run by estate sale managers, who either go through all the unwanted items and put price tags on them or place everything up for purchase in an auction style. When it comes to estate sales, you can land some really neat items--or maybe even the home itself--if you know what to look for. Here are things you should always look for at estate sales, and other items you should pass by.


Estate sales usually include furnishings of the home. You can get a great couch, table, chairs, and even accessories, including lamps, rugs, and throw pillows at estate sales. If you are considering buying furniture, make sure you get to an estate sale as soon as it opens so you can buy couches and chairs as a set before someone else nabs a single piece of furniture and leaves you without a matching piece.


If you are into quilting, bead work, painting, and other crafts, you can find great deals at estate sales. Estate sale managers often box all craft-related items together in a single box rather than try to sell or auction off each piece individually. If you see one craft item you really like, be prepared to pay for the entire collection. If you show heavy interest in purchasing an entire craft collection from an estate sale, the managers may be willing to let you dig through the items to see what you are getting.


Collectibles are tricky at estate sales. On the one hand, you can get a whole collection of plates, dolls, mugs, or other items you are looking for all in one location if the previous owner was a serious collector. On the other hand, estate sale managers are often keen on the true value of collectibles and other profitable items, such as paintings, and will often charge you a hefty price for each piece. If you see collectibles at an estate sale, the best way to get a great deal on what you want is to offer a price for the entire collection rather than the one or two items you want. Not wanting to break up a set, estate sale managers will often take a lower price if it is reasonable.

Items to avoid

Estate sales are great for furniture, collectibles, and crafts, but be wary of buying clothing, shoes, and linen. The previous owners wardrobe may be outdated or contain clothing that has a lot of wear, and you don't get a variety in style choices since all the clothing belonged to one person. Used linen may be worn out or dated as well. Stay away from the more personal items at an estate sale.

Estate sales are a great place to get a nice deal on certain items. Know how to strike a bargain with estate sale managers and watch out for the best items on the list, and you can snag some very nice items at a great price.